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tv   The Week in Parliament  BBC News  October 21, 2017 2:30am-3:00am BST

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people in the biggest operation ever against paedophiles in latin america. the justice department say the suspects were arrested in 2a states, and the capital, brasilia, after being accessed through the dark web. afghan officials say nearly 60 people have been killed in two separate suicide attacks on mosques. in the first, the bomber entered a shia mosque in kabul and set off explosives. in the second, a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in ghor province. so—called islamic state has claimed responsibility. the us has called on the baghdad government to limit the deployment of iraqi troops in the north of the country, to prevent unnecessary clashes with kurdish forces. iraqi federal troops have been engaged in a battle with kurdish peshmerga forces over the last remaining district of kirkuk province. now it is time for a look back at the week in westminster. hello and welcome to the week in parliament,
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as more pressure is piled on the government over the welfare benefit, universal credit. will the prime minister now pause universal credit and fix the problems before pressing ahead with the roll—out? why have reintroduced universal credit? it is a simpler system, it is a system which encourages people to get into the workplace. what next for brexit? we talk to two parliamentary experts about the battles ahead for the eu withdrawal bill. in the commons there's a call for an end to the use of surgical mesh implants. women in their 30s, 405, 50s are telling us that they're struggling to walk, they have lost their sex lives and suffer from horrendous pain day in, day out.
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and we hear from the mp who wants stiffer penalties for assaults on emergency workers. i think that since they are there to protect us and save our lives, any attack on them is an attack on all of us. the government ordered conservative mps not to take part in a vote on thursday, on a labour motion to pause the roll—out of the new welfare payment, universal credit. it's designed to simplify the system by putting different benefits, including housing and unemployment benefit, into a single payment. it's paid monthly, in arrears. but that means new claimants often have to wait six weeks before they get any money. mps, including some on the government's own side, and charities have said that's leading to debt and rent arrears. at prime minister's questions the previous wedensday, jeremy corbyn had urged the government to think again and at least scrap the 55 pence a minute charge for calling the universal credit helpline. and with the issue sure to come up again, the work and pensions secretary, appearing before a committee of mps,
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announced a change of heart. contrary to some reports, these are not premium lines, the dwp does not make a profit from these lines. nonetheless, given the recent attention and concern this could place a burden on claimants, i have decided this will change to a freephone number over the next month. well, a short time later jeremy corbyn raised the benefit at prime minister's questions. mr speaker, last week i asked the prime minister to scrap the unfair charges on the universal credit helpline. today she has finally bowed to that pressure. but the fundamental problems of universal credit remain. the six—week wait, rising indebtedness, rent arrears and evictions. will the prime minister now pause universal credit and fix the problems before pressing ahead with the roll—out? i want people to know they can ring in, they can get their advice and do that being worried about it.
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that is exactly what we are going to do. the right honourable gentleman talks about universal credit and talks about pausing universal credit. why have we introduced universal credit? it is a simpler system, a system that encourages people to get into the workplace. it is a system that is working because more people are getting into work, and pausing universal credit will not help those people who will be helped by going to universal credit, getting into the workplace and bringing home more pay for their families. well, all of that came just before a debate, put forward by labour, calling for the roll out of universal credit to be paused. among the first backbenchers to speak, the former conservative leader who was the original architect of the scheme. universal credit is the single biggest change to the welfare system and those who really care about this, as i said,
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as i read out from thejoseph rowntree foundation, that it has within it the capability to dramatically change lives for the better. it is something i think my party should be proud of. i want to genuinely say to the benches opposite, none of us on this side are lying about our experiences here. we are not making things up. we are coming to you with genuine problems here that the government is failing to address. the dwp figures show that around one in four new claimants wait longer than six weeks to be paid. that is a 25% failure rate. rents still need paid, food needs to be put on the table and the heating bills still needs to be paid. i went to a school bottom of the league table. my father died at an early age. we had bailiffs on the doors. there wasn't any support. we absolutely do understand the importance of providing opportunity. that's what drove me into politics
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and that is why i support universal credit and i don't want to see it being paused because it does offer a transformational opportunity for people. order. at the end of that debate, labour forced a division, but the government didn't take part, meaning the motion was carried by 299 votes to zero... although that result wasn't binding. immediately after labour objected to the government's tactics. yet again the prime minister and the tories cannot command a majority in the house of commons. the prime minister is in office but not in power. and next day a conservative mp expressed unease, pointing out it wasn't the first time this government had abstained on an opposition vote. it may be in the future that there is a minority labour government. they may produce policies which we think are deeply contrary to our personal liberties. we may muster a majority parliament against it.
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what happens then if a future labour government says, "i'm sorry, you set the precedent. it is only an expression of opinion. we are going to ignore parliament"? frankly, the road to tyranny is paved by executives ignoring parliaments. but the leader of the commons denied a precedent had been set. this government is very clearly listening to parliament and has very clearly taken action as a result of concerns raised in this house, and thirdly i have also given an assurance that dwp ministers will come back to this chamber to update members across the house on progress with rolling out universal credit. now, there's a bit of legislation everyone was expecting around about now, but which has yet to pop up in the commons. what am i talking about? ? the eu withdrawal bill. it's the crucial bit of legislation that takes eu law and moves it into uk law in time for brexit. but there's been concern
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that the government is going to make extensive use of what are called henry viii powers to change acts of parliament with little scrutiny. and that's before we get on to the actual content of the bill. so far 300 amendments have been put down! so, to find out what was going on i caught up with two parliamentary experts, dr hannah white from the institute for government and lord lisvane, who before moving to the lords was clerk of the commons. so to find out what was going on i caught up with two parliamentary experts, dr hannah white from the institute for government and lord lisvane, who before moving to the lords was clerk of the commons. i began by asking hannah white why the bill was so important. this is really the significant bill relating to brexit and it is going to transfer all the existing eu legislation on to the uk statute book and what the government is doing to enable that process to go
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smoothly is giving itself quite extensive powers to amend the legislation once it is on the uk statute book. either to make it make sense or to make more substantive policy changes and that is why parliament, lots of people in the commons and the lords, are concerned about the extent of the powers the government has given itself. that all sounds perfectly reasonable. the government has got to get eu law into british law to stop the train coming off the track after brexit, so what particularly is the problem? it is the sheer scale and scope of the powers. the idea that under several clauses in the bill, ministers could amend or repeal any act of parliament which has ever been passed, including indeed the act which will result from this bill itself. so there is concern about the scope of what the government is giving itself the power to do, but what choice does it have, given it has to make these changes? i don't think anybody would argue that ministers don't need some really quite extensive powers but when you have powers to make delegated legislation, particularly the henry viii powers which affect primary legislation, which has already been passed and subject to extensive parliamentary scrutiny, then several things have to happen
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in order to make that acceptable. first, the purpose for which those powers can be used has got to be tightly defined. second the period over which those powers can be used has got to be limited. it has to be sunsetted. we are told that the powers in this bill are sunsetted. in fact, when you look at the bill in detail, it is incredibly easy to get round the sunsetting limitations. a lot of concern about the bill. the government says one of the ways it is addressing this is to give mps eight days in committee of the entire house so everybody can talk about this to try to iron out some of these concerns. eight days sounds like a lot. is that a problem? it is not really a lot if you look at some of the previous eu legislation that was passed. there was a greater length of time spent on the bill to implement the maastricht treaty, for example. and we have already seen 300 amendments to date have been put down in the commons and 57
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new clauses proposed. there are really a lot of different issues that mps want to explore and i'm sure when the bill moves to the house of lords the same will be true. so it is just a question of making sure that all the concerns mps have are fully explored. part of the problem really is that the government is trying to come up with a bill that will give a solution when it hasn't got the final brexit deal and doesn't know what it is going to be. indeed. i think the reason some of the powers they are seeking to give themselves are very widely drawn is because they need potentially to use those powers at very short notice to implement aspects of the withdrawal agreement. and they don't know what that withdrawal agreement might look like and that is why some people
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are arguing it would be more appropriate to implement the withdrawal agreement using it is of primary legislation rather than relying on these secondary powers to do that, which is the government's current proposal. when the government gets this through the commons, it then has to get it through the lords. how is that going to go? i think the government will have to work very hard. of course it depends whether amendments are made in the commons, whether the bill is slightly less worrying when it gets to the lords and, as you know, the delegated powers committee, which i am a member of, although i am speaking in a personal capacity, and the constitution committee have been really uncompromising about the concerns and hazards in the bill. so i think it would depend on what the bill looks like when it gets to us but i think it is going to be a very extensive and hard—fought piece of scrutiny. i started with an impossible question to you. i'll finish with an impossible question for you. the eu withdrawal bill is just the first of the bills the government has to get through to get brexit done. is it even realistic to think that they are going to get
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all this legislation through? how much coming together and compromise is there going to be? we are already seeing a delay in the timetable for the withdrawal bill, had it been expected to come into the commons sooner, now we are not sure if it will arrive next week or not, because behind the scenes the government is negotiating over some of these amendments which have been put down. that has already caused a delay. i think before we had an election last year, the government was hoping the bill would probably be through both houses by christmas. now it is looking like it won't get to the house of lords even until the new year. as you say, on top of that there are a number of different other bills which the government is going to want to get through. parliamentary time is limited and it is beginning to look really tight. thank you both very much for coming onto the programme. well, staying with brexit, on tuesday borisjohnson told mps the uk's "friends and partners in the eu" need to "get serious" about the brexit negotiations. his comments came after the prime minister travelled to brussels on monday to try to break the impasse between the two sides.
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theresa may and eu commission presidentjean—claude juncker agreed to "accelerate" brexit negotiations. but labour reckoned the government's position was chaotic. let me just quote again from the last session of foreign office questions, when the foreign secretary told the house, "there is no plan for no deal." five days ago, he said that, "we must make the right preparations for a no—deal scenario." we know that the cabinet cannot stop fighting about the brexit that they want, but it would be a start if our flip—flopping foreign secretary could stop fighting with himself. it is up to our friends and partners in the eu to look seriously at the offer we are making, particularly on citizens, and to make progress. everybody wants to make progress, and everybody wants to give the 3.2 million eu citizens in this country the maximum possible reassurance and security. that can only happen once our friends and partners decide to get serious in these negotiations. well, a short time later the brexit secretary,
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david davis, came to the commons to update mps. he too was pressed over what the government wanted. the secretary of state assures us that he has never talked up no deal, but he has not talked it down, either. 0ther influential voices in his party talk up no deal all the time. the prime minister still has not withdrawn her claim that no deal is better than a bad deal. rather than just not talking up no deal, will the secretary of state absolutely rule out no deal today as the worst of all possible deals? ? we are intending, setting out and straining every sinew to get a deal. that will be the best outcome, but for two reasons we need to prepare for all the other alternatives. the first is that it is a negotiation with many people and it could go wrong, so we have to be ready for that. the second is that in a negotiation
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you always have to have the right to walk away: if you do not, you get a terrible deal. a little later, appearing before a committee of mps, the home secretary said it was "unthinkable" that there would a "no deal brexit", and said she remained optimistic. if there were no deal of any form do you believe britain would continue to be as safe and secure as we are now? i think it is unthinkable that there would be no deal because it is so much in their interests as well as ours, and their communities' and families' and the interests of their tourists, to have something in place. we will make sure there is something between them and us to maintain our security. the home secretary, amber rudd. at the end of the week theresa may went to brussels again to try to push the process forward. afterwards european union leaders agreed to let officials prepare for the second phase of the brexit negotiations, looking at a future trading relationship. but the summit concluded that there had not been enough progress in the first phase of talks to move on to trade yet. let's take a look at some
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of the other stories making political news this week. here's gary connor with our countdown. the curtain has come down on a parliamentary career this week. andrew lloyd webber is stepping down from the house of lords after voting only 42 times since hejoined in 1997. new peers might have their time in the chamber curtailed as well. rather than having a seat for life, reports suggest a 15—year term limit could be introduced in future. in a bad—tempered debate on universal credit, a labourmp compared the benefit to an amazon review of iain duncan smith's novel. frighteningly bad, rubbish, utter drivel, hilariously awful, and an outstanding compendium of bottom gravy. scottish conservative leader ruth davidson is swapping holyrood for paul hollywood. she will be appearing on the charity special of channel 4's great british bake 0ff later in the year. and the mp tim lawton has revealed he spends up to one hour in the bath each morning to compose his thoughts for the day ahead. talk about the westminster bubble. now to some other
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westminster news in brief. inflation is at its highest level for five years, reaching 3% in august. but the bank of england governor mark carney told the treasury committee it would carry on rising, for now at least. we expect that inflation will peak around 0ctober, november figures and so peaking potentially above 3% level. you talked about inflation peaking in october. and others have said the same thing. what is it that leads you to think that october may be a peak and then we might see a reduction towards the end of the year? is it possible to say that yet? the business minister has said
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the news that 400 jobs are to be lost at the vauxhall car plant in ellesmere port is "particularly disappointing". on tuesday mps debated the plight on the rohingya. hundreds of thousands of the mainly muslim ethnic group have fled from myanmar to neighbouring bangladesh after clashes with burma's military. any news stories that have been put out in the newspapers that the rohingya are doing this to themselves are lies, fabrication, absolute fantasy. it is not true. no woman wants to trek with eight small children, having had one of her sons stabbed through the chest, her breasts dried up because she can't feed her child, and only some semolina for days to keep going. they are not doing it to themselves. and the world, if the world sups up that nonsense, that lie, that fabrication, then we are complicit. labour has accused the government of breaking a series of promises made after the grenfell tower fire in london injune. the shadow housing minister,
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john healey, said theresa may had promised people would have a new home by early august. but the communities secretary, sajid javid, defended the government's approach and said it was shame labour was treating the issue as a political point scoring opportunity. a former health minister is calling for a hillsborough—style panel or inquiry to be set up to investigate an epilepsy drug and the harm caused to unborn babies during pregnancy. norman lamb also called for compensation for those affected by sodium valproate. he said about 20,000 babies were estimated to have been affected since the 19705. in the general population there is a risk of foetal abnormality of 2—3%. but if valproate is taken during pregnancy that goes up to ii%. there is a case for an inquiry orfor a hillsborough style panel to understand how on earth this outrageous scandal could ever have happened, how it has gone on for so many decades, letting down so many
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families across our country. the warnings now on the packaging include a very specific warning which i will read which says, "warning for women and girls. this medicine can seriously harm an unborn baby. always use effective contraception during treatment. if you're thinking about becoming pregnant or you have become pregnant, talk to your doctor straightaway. " the health minister, philip dunne. staying with medical matters, the government has rejected calls for the banning of surgical mesh implants. they're offered to patients to treat a number of conditions in women, and men, such as internal organ prolapse and incontinence. but high numbers of women have begun to come forward claiming the procedure has left them in debilitating pain. women in their 305,
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405, 505 are telling us that they are struggling to walk, they have lost their sex lives and suffer from horrendous pain day in day out. some are even suffering from po5t traumatic stress disorder following the horrific impact the mesh has had on their quality of life. 0ne consultant who has written to explain the problems in me5h removal stated that once 5tuck, the mesh is neverfully removed and failure of implanting means that the mesh will fuse, erode, stick and adhere to organs, nerves and blood vessels, creating lifelong injuries. the conservative who chairs the health select committee is also a gp. i don't agree that we should ban mesh because for some women the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence or prolapse can themselves be life altering, so we should retain this as an option where in fact alternative procedures may give worse outcomes or potentially worse complications but there must be adequate consultation with women about the risks so they can weigh those risks up.
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i think the most important aspect of this debate are the women who are suffering themselves. and the most important thing we can do, and my priority, is to make sure we are ensuring they get the support and care and treatment they need to alleviate a debilitating condition. but there was unhappiness in the chamber when the minsiter told mp5 the advice she'd been given. mesh still is the best product for treating stress incontinence. but the evidence regarding prolapse is rather more mixed. but i can give that advice to members today but we will await the nice guidelines before the end of the year. and she rejected calls for a public inquiry, provoking an angry response from emma hardy as she wound up the debate. the reaction you have just given is simply not good enough at all. i am extremely disappointed because i completely disagree with you. it is notjust about the procedure, it is also about the product, and i hope the weight of evidence from all the women that we can see there, all the women who have e—mailed, all the constituents,
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all the people that have contacted sling the mesh, will be enough evidence to show you that this is more than procedural, this is the product. finally for now to the commons on friday where labour mp chris bryant put forward a bill to increase the penalties for assaults on emergency workers. mr bryant topped the annual commons ballot for the right to bring in a bill. he'd consulted his constituents on what the issue should be, and they'd overwhelmingly favoured this proposal. just ahead of the debate he told us why he wanted change. i think that since they are there to protect us and save our lives, any attack on them is an attack on all of us and that is why i think the law should come down more heavily on them. just as we have for racially and religiously aggravated assaults, a special category, an enhanced aggravated offence, for hate crimes as well, i think it is appropriate we do that for them. most importantly, up until now, the maximum you can get for common assault is six months only triable in a magistrates‘ court.
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i think that should be extended, it could be either in a magistrates‘ court or a crown court, and should be up to 12 months, and i want to say to those magistrates who have all too often said to police officers or even ambulance crews, "a degree of violence is part of yourjob," i am sorry, that is not right. well, his bill had cross party support in the commons, including from the minister. every day, emergency workers across the country show quite remarkable courage simply in carrying out their duties. they save lives, protect communities and uphold the law. we owe each and every one of them a debt of gratitude and they deserve the full protection of the law. tougher sentences for these despicable attacks on emergency workers sends the clearest possible message that this cowardly behaviour will not be tolerated and that is why the government is supporting this bill.
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all of which means chris bryant's bill will now go forward for more detailed consideration and, unlike most private members' bills, stands a good chance of becoming law. and that's it from us for now but do join keith macdougall on monday night at 11 for a full round up of the day here at westminster, when we're expecting a statement from theresa may on the latest brexit talks. but for now, from me, goodbye. hi there. today's weather is brought to you courtesy of storm brian. let's take a look at brian then.
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over the last 24 hours it has rapidly developed as low pressure moves across the atlantic. the strongest winds have been out to sea and as the storm crosses the british isles it will gradually weakened. a slow process and the winds will remain pretty strong and gusty throughout saturday. we have a band of rain for the early rises. still lingering across north—east scotland. there or thereabouts towards the eastern coast of england. following that, plenty of showers out west and it is in this showery air mass that we will have fairly strong gusts of wind working in. given it's a blowy start the day, it will be mild. 10—13 degrees for early rises. some of the strongest winds through saturday morning will be targeting the coast of south—west england and wales. gusts of 50—60 mph, maybe a few isolated gusts of up to 70 mph. 0ne concern is that those strong winds bringing large waves could coincide with high tides, so we could see some localised surface water flooding impacts. inland gusts more typically up to 50 mph. that will blow lots of leaves off the trees. maybe one or two smaller tree branches coming down. the winds picking up later in the afternoon and towards the evening time across north wales and north—west england as we see a lengthier spell of rain here.
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again the winds could reach up to 60 mph. perhaps a touch stronger in some of the most exposed areas. but for the most part on saturday, brian will bring fairly typical windy weather for an autumn day. heading through the night time, the low pressure works out into the north sea and we'll see showers or even lengthy spells of rain working particularly into north—west england overnight. still quite a blowy night. 9—10 degrees. something like that. , of life on sunday there will be fewer showers. the winds turning lighter. but coming in from a north—westerly direction, so it's a cooler direction. temperature wise, between 10—14 degrees. but with fewer showers, you have a better chance of dodging the downpours and having drier spells of weather. the north—westerly winds are shortly. by monday, most winds
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back to the south—west, with the exception of the far north of scotland. south—westerly winds dragging in mild air. temperatures up to 16—17 degrees. that mild theme stays with us for the week ahead. the best of any sunny spells in north—eastern areas initially. more than 1,000 agents took part in this massive operation. it was an investigation that took six months, with the help of the us embassy in brazil, as well as us immigration officials. european officers were also involved. those who were arrested shared pornographic images of children through their computers and mobile phones. they were also found to have produced images, too.
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